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MSPs Pledge To Help Defeat Poverty

15 Jan 2009

The GetFair anti-poverty group was launched at the Scottish Parliament yesterday with support from SNP, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green MSPs.

The group, which aims to defeat poverty by 2020, is an umbrella organisation comprising over 50 voluntary sector bodies. More than 60 people attended the event – including 15 MSPs. A number of other MSPs sent messages of support and will be signing the ‘Poverty Pledge’ later (see below).

GetFair Scotland campaign leader Peter Kelly said at the meeting,

“We believe the current number of Scots living in poverty – nearly 1million, or 1 in 5 of the population – is a violation of human rights. It is wholly unacceptable.

“The reduction of poverty must be a shared objective of all political parties, and of governments in both London and Edinburgh.

“Signing Up to our campaign today is the first step. Now we need to see action.”

The meeting also heard from people who had personal experience of poverty - including Brian, who has been homeless in Glasgow for two years. He said,

“Being homeless holds you back from getting on with your life. It makes you feel as if it is your own fault for being homeless. You feel stigmatised and patronised. I found out the hard way that homelessness is one of the most harrowing experiences of one’s life.

“You see the fabric and the structure of family life being torn apart. You are surrounded by feelings of isolation and it seems as if your life has suddenly come to a halt.

“You are accommodated away from family and friends in places that are strange and unfamiliar to you. You feel that you have been abandoned.”

The campaign will continue to lobby MSPs and other politicians, and plans to hold a series of events in the run-up to the next General Election.

For more information, interviews etc., contact Tony Hutson 0131 550 1010.

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